[REF: SUPPRESSED, Vol. 4, No. 1, February, 1957, PP.
CUBA'S LURE-LEGALIZED FILTH!
By: Richard Skylar
A CUBAN has cracked the G-String Barrier. For $1.25 in
Shanghai Theater you can watch impresario Jose Orozco Garcia
the last clinging shred between the stripper an the solarium
you birthday suit burlesque. While police look the
other way, he
serves you a main dish of six totally stripped senoritas and
spices it to your taste with raw film footage salvaged from
party censor's wastebasket and a peppery ‘legitimate' play
Broadway's bawdiest presentations.
SIZZLING SEX TRAP
If you're a decent guy from Omaha, showing his best girl the
Havana, and you make the mistake of entering the Shanghai,
Garcia and will want to wring his neck for corrupting the
your sweet baby. If you're a school marm from Vermont
blunder into this three act scorcher, you'll cry out against
authorities who allowed your eyes to witness this
debauchery. If you're
an American mother whose boys have splurged a week's salary
fare to Havana to see girls bare their all for six bits,
you'll ask our
State Department what kind of good neighbor policy allows
on within 60 minutes of the continental United States.
Even an American burlesque queen would be shocked by the
goings off at
the Shanghai. Whenever show business in continental
tangles with sex, decency demands a passion plug between the
eyes of the audience and the female flesh on stage. If
it isn't a
dim rose spotlight to give you eyestrain instead of a lift,
spangles on flesh tinted tights. But this show is a
a tease. By contrast to Garcia, Harold Minsky is a
S.R.O. EVERY NIGHT
Yet the show goes on and if you ask a Cuban official about
just shrug his shoulders. As far as he is concerned
doesn't exist because it never advertises. Its
local clientele come on a strictly word-of-mouth
And Americans wander in because it's just a shockingly short
Havana's most respectable downtown shopping street.
know arrive early for good seats. Others often find
seating available for the first or 9:30 P.M. show. The
sellout is real because even a ten peso tip (the full $10.00
American scratch) won't get you a closeup. Many wait
it out for
the 11:30 performance, settling for nothing less than fifth
For those Yankees who haven't the patience to stand in a
for ten minutes the two hour wait is almost beyond
Their reward is an orchestra vantage point crammed with
close to a
thousand people in creaking, uncomfortable chairs. The
in the Shanghai theater is close, extremely hot, with an air
expectation. For anything other than the promised
place would be unbearable to an audience.
By the time you're running short on oxygen, the curtain goes
scene one. This is the first act of the stage
lacking in professional scenery is made up for by the
emoting of the
actresses. One's only regret is that high school
gets around to the vividly picturesque Spanish slang with
meanings. At least half the dialogue never saw the
inside of a
respectable English-Spanish dictionary. But the most
human impulses speak a universal language. The risqué
and the real meanings behind the gestures don't need any
translator. When the swarthy leading man spreads his
serape on a
couch and expertly maneuvers his paramour across the room,
same international incident in any land.
[To see a full size photo, right click and VIEW IMAGE]
[Caption] Routines at the Shanghai exceed the limits set
U.S. counterparts. Since sex is an international
language is no barrier.
The cast keeps the acting broad and simple. Whether
this is a
gesture to the language barrier separating them from the
the audience, or because they have reached the limits of
doesn't really matter. Picture a standard Stateside
skit that begins at the point where you'd normally
blushing blackout and you have the play at the Shanghai.
Still, a guise of restraint and pseudo-righteousness during
seething scene holds the chafing audience in check.
follows the oldest rule of exciting drama: a slow build to
finale. And there are many. The first act
down, without warning, right in the middle of a scene.
once Latin dance rhythms blare through the theater.
The action of
the play is forgotten as a six-girl line takes to the stage
across the boards. The musical revue is under way.
SIX RAW STRIPS
What they do cannot be called choreography. There are
uncoordinated solo performances going on at the same time
and you don't
know where to look first. With none of the subtlety of
American stripper and no expensive specialty
(Continued on page 64)
costumes that come apart at the touch of a snapper, these
put on a show that beats any tease dancer with her phony
fans for excitement.
A little plump one concentrates most of her efforts on
of a tight sheath skirt. The top-heavy brunette in the
works almost exclusively from the waist up. With the
drapery shed, they get down to essentials. Here the
of the performers gives the show an unexpected lift.
can't afford the lavish finery of expensive costumed under-
these girls wear what seem to be their street undies for
Item by item the flimsy under-garments disappear until the
behold a dizzy picture of completely naked women gyrating,
twisting in a way that drops all theatrical pretense and
on thrusting the impulses of nature alone across the
footlights. Like a nudist camp gone berserk they throw
nearer and nearer to the customers until a frenzied pace is
Then, as if to spare the hearts of the older members of the
the curtain closes mercifully on the fast-moving
you're still wiping away the perspiration the curtain rises
you find yourself back once more to the play that opened the
festivities. Only now it's act two. Of course
forgotten what happened in the first act but nobody seems to
care. Now there is a new love scene, another conquest
and the act
is over almost before it begins.
But the piece of resistance is yet to come. There is
of life that no theater, no matter how risqué, dares to show
the flesh. The most intimate relationships between men
in their more unguarded moments simply cannot be displayed
at a public
theater that openly admits anyone who buys a ticket.
be inviting a riot.
The lights dim and motion picture screen appears. You
nothing. You recognize the films as refugees from
organization stag parties–the sort which leave you with the
"Well, now I've seen everything!"
Only after you leave the theater will you realize that most
girls in the live revue just didn't size up in looks or
figure to the
showgirls back home. That's because the Shanghai has
casting problem on earth. Even in Cuba where poor farm
drive their girls to the city to earn a living and where a
fiancé will permit his intended bride to enter into shady
illicit practices for a year to finance a trousseau, most of
the line when it comes to appearing at the Shanghai Theater.
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